There was much sadness around St. Eunan’s Cathedral and all of Letterkenny today as the funeral of popular businessman and family man Eddie Tinney took place.
Mr Tinney, who was in his late 70s, died following a tragic accident while working at lands at Tullygay on the outskirts of the town.
Two Tinney’s Oil lorries led Eddie up the Port Road where the people of the town came to a standstill as Eddie’s remains passed before his funeral mass at St Eunan’s Cathedral.
Outside a huge group of mourners waited in still silence as Eddie Tinney, one of their own, was brought into the Cathedral.
Mementos were brought up by his grandchildren which were symbolic of his life, from his cap and wellies he always had on, to a mock up of his famous red pickup truck.
Father Stephen Gorman said it was another difficult and sad day for a local family, the parish and for the local community.
“We come here this morning in such large numbers to show our support and sympathy to the Tinney family on loss loving husband father, grandfather, uncle, brother, neighbour, friend and business man,” father Gorman said.
“It’s nice to see so many people here this morning from all different walks of life to come and pray and pay their final respects to this much loved businessman from port road. Today we let go in peace Eddie Tinney to the place that’s been prepared for him.
“Eddie was born in the Port Road in 1943, to Paddy and Cecelia, he was the youngest of three children, Margaret and Charlie. Eddie met the love of his life Theresa in 1969. They had a short courtship and married in 1970 in the Long Tower Church in Derry. After their marriage, they moved to the Glebe in Letterkenny while their house on the Port Road was being built.
“They moved to the Port Road in 1972 and they set up the family home where they had four children, Cecelia, Joanna, Patrick and Edward.
Father Gorman added: “Starting off on the milk runs for the creamery, while also delivering coal, and at that time groceries, which were the start of the haulage. In 1994 he branched into the oil market and he and his family built a very successful business which we know is located in Milk Isle in Bonagee
“Eddie also acquired the Golden Grill nightclub. He loved the Grill, he loved the young people. He was also well known at the marts in Letterkenny and in Bonagee, buying and selling cattle, and he very much loved the Bonagee show every year.
“He and Theresa loved going to the Letterkenny reunion bus groups and going to Scotland and other different places. Eddie also loved going to Medjugorje, having been on many trips there.
“As you know he was a pioneer his whole life, and loved attending dinner dances and especially dancing with Theresa, in fact he attended his last dinner dance only last Friday evening in the Clanree hotel which was the farmers dinner dance.
“He was a larger than life character and he always wanted to do a good turn for you.
“But what was really important to Eddie Tinney was wife Theresa and his children Cecelia, Joanna, Patrick and Edward. He was very fond of all his grandchildren.If you knew Eddie well, you knew family was key to him, family was central to Eddie.”
“As a former employee before joining priesthood, having witnessed the family first hand, Eddie was the boss
“I learned the Tinney family are a close knit team, all invested in and to fit in you needed a strong work ethic, excellent customer service skills but in return you were always well looked after in the Tinney family.
“He was such a wonderful character full of life always will to help with his kindness and generosity and he will be missed driving around in his red pickup truck.”
Eddie’s daughter, Joanna, added: “I think it’s fair to say daddy was at his happiest when helping someone, it just came so naturally to him. If you needed help and he had the know how or the ability to provide that help, then he just did it.
“He took advice and he gave advice, much better at giving. He always found the way around the obstacles in his path, no more than the right to live. Himself and mammy were a great team, they soldiered through the hard times, of which he had so many near misses.
“He was the luckiest man I knew, the number of times he almost left this world, there they were, the right people at the right time. “It wasn’t just enough that he cheated death, there was always a story to be told.
“1996 was the start of his medical history, in coronary care, the chest burns of which we called the ‘jump leads’. Daddy was quite proud of those for a while.
“It was in 2014 daddy introduced himself to Dr. David, a heart specialist at Letterkenny General Hospital. When daddy’s heart stopped and he dropped to the ground of the front door of the Grill on Easter Sunday, boy he loved the Grill.
“I don’t think any father prepared their family for death as much as daddy, and here we are unprepared, because death wasn’t ever on his cards, only living.”
Another of Eddie’s daughters Cecelia added: “I’d written a few words but words don’t really cut it today.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of you here today, for all the love and support that we’re feeling right now, and for all the love and support of the community over the last few days has just been absolutely tremendous.
“People have come from all over and I just want you to know we truly appreciate everything that you’ve done.
“My dad was also a quiet man, he wasn’t great for public speaking, but when you had him on a one to one, you had him in the palm of your hand. He was a peoples person and I think as we drove the route here, it’s a testament to his life and what people thought of him.”
Rest In Peace, Eddie.